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Maniac (1963)

Yes, it's another of the Hammer "They're trying to drive me MAD!" black and white thriller stable. This one doesn't work as well as the others - possibly because it's the first, perhaps because it's a bit too unbelievable.

A saucy young French strumpet is jumped on by the local rapist (every village in the Carmargue has one, apparently) as she makes her way home - and dad extracts a terrible revenge on her attacker involving an oxy-acetylene blowtorch. It's a shame "Papa" and "Nicole" didn't take a leaf out of Hammer's book and liven up the Renault Clio ads with similar interesting alternatives to metalwork activities.

Jump forward four years and the strumpet is working in her stepmother's bar - dad having been put in a loony bin for his welding hi-jinks. Enter a "young" American on a tour of Europe, whose on the rebound from splitting up with his rich girlfriend. He immediately falls for the strumpet, but ends up copping off with her equally saucy stepmum (haven't we all been there?). Within five minutes he's calling her "darling" and agreeing to free her banged-up hubby from the nuthouse (which handily, is practically next door to the bar). Like you do.

Of course, that's only the start of the typical twists and turns - once he's escaped, it turns out Papa really is insane - or is he? Does he want to kill the American? Is anyone following this? Is there a script, or is this film just a series of shocks? I'll let you find out.

Director: Michael Carreras Writer(s): Jimmy Sangster

Credited Cast: Kerwin Mathews - Paul Farrell, Nadia Gray - Eve Beynat, Norman Bird - Salon, Liliane Brousse - Annette Beynat, Arnold Diamond - Janiello, Donald Houston - Henri, Justin Lord - Grace, Justine Lord - Grace, George Pastell - Inspector Etienne, Leon Peers - Blanchard, Jerold Wells - Giles

 

Last updated: February 25, 2010

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